A Few Recommendations | Mid-Year Favorites

reading time: 8 min

Hello lovely internet people, lately I haven't been posting much, or at least not very consistently, which is mostly because I feel like my focus has shifted from blogging to other forms of creative output, such as gardening, redecorating and planning our home, going for walks, writing, and yes, even expressing my creativity through clothing, make-up and jewellery. I've also been reading more, and came across a bunch of inspiring videos that I want to share with you.

So here is the wild mix of my current "mid-year favorites"!

1. Entertainment

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Starting off with one of my current and all-time hobbies: reading. At the moment I'm reading the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher (which I love, just as I'm obsessed with his Harry Dresden series!), but prior to that I finally read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo as well as its sequel, Crooked Kingdom. It's a duology that is set in the same world as her previous novels, the Grisha Trilogy, known as the Grishaverse. (Guess what next on my TBR list?!) I know, I'm kind of late to the party, but Leigh Bardugo is my new favorite author. I love her writing style, the setting, the characters, the pacing – just everything about it! 

Mamma Mia / ABBA

After my fiancé J and I have recently watched the movie Mamma Mia! featuring most of ABBA's greatest hits, we've been digging all sorts of ABBA songs and listening to the Spotify playlist up and down. The ABBA songs take me back to my childhood in the 90s when I used to sit at my Dad's computer and listen to his music while I was typing out my first adventure stories. 

My favourite songs (from the movie and from ABBA in general) are Lay All Your Love On Me, Honey Honey, Does You Mother Know, and Slipping Through My Fingers. Unfortunately the sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again isn't available on Netflix, but I'd really like to watch it if I got the chance.

2. Creativity 

Jonna Jinton | Painting with natural pigments

Jonna Jinton is a real-life nature spirit who inspires me on all levels, creatively, spiritually, as well as in terms of her natural feminine essence and her closeness to nature itself. She is a wild spirit expressing her creativity in all shapes and forms – for instance by drawing intuitively. I love her moody, ethereal paintings, and also the fact that she actually makes her own paint using natural materials such as charcoal, sand, stones, ashes and mud. She's my "role model" when it comes to creative outlet and living a free, natural lifestyle.

My Vision Board

Speaking of lifestyle, I've been making a vision board for the things I want to focus my energy on this year, such as writing, getting creative with paints and pottery, doing yoga, harvesting my own garden greens, hiking / spending time in nature, spending quality time with (female) friends, finding and making a home, further deepening my relationship with my fiancée, eating more fresh and vibrant food, taking care of plants and pets – and just overall doing »more of what makes me happy«!

One of my biggest goals this year is to find my "dream house" which is a smallish detached two-story building with a bathtub, a kitchen with a window by the sink, a rose arch at the garden gate, and – most importantly – a large garden/property to grow vegetables, let our guinea pigs roam free, enjoy lush flower beds, and put up a hammock between two apple trees 😊 Of course, my home office would face the garden, and after a while we'd build a coop for a handful of chicken (yes, I'm still vegan and won't eat the eggs! we just love having animals around us to give a home to and take care of!).

3. Body & Beauty

As you may know from my blog posts 50 Shades of Feminine and 12 Ways to Cultivate & Increase your Feminine Energy I've been looking into femininity and what fits/flatters my body shape, my complexion and my personality. I've been enjoying to wear more jewellery again, trying out more hair styles, and even "experimenting" with a bit of make-up, which in my case as a super minimal person just means that I've been putting on my go-to mascara and golden eye shadow more regularly, and that I've started wearing a winged eye liner and a bit of lipstick every now and again.

The 13 Body Types / David Kibbe

Something I've just recently discovered and been researching and literally studying like crazy over the past few weeks is body typing! Both Aly Art and Merriam Style make great videos about this, and Aly even has a Body Type Test on her channel. Personally, I've used this test instead because I found it a little easier to answer.

After taking this test and also researching a hell of a lot to train my eye (it takes quite a bit of time to recognize the characteristics in people!) I came to the conclusion that I am a Soft Natural.

SOFT NATURAL (clothing, hair, and make up)


Kibbe describes Soft Naturals as "a very soft, fresh, and enchanting physical beauty, along with an essence that is creative, charming, and filled with a sensitive appeal" which – honestly – fits my personalty / charisma quite well. 

After discovering my body type it has become so much easier to find clothes that actually look great on me and flatter my "lines" (and understand why so many clothes that I adore just didn't look good on me!). Basically, Soft Naturals look best in anything asymmetric, flowy and drapy but not too playful, minimalist, natural colors, tousled hair, very soft and subtle make-up, relaxed, light-weight fabrics, layers, unconstructed silhouette with slight waist emphasis, and an overall mixture of  feminine shapes/colors/fabrics and a bit of masculine edginess (Soft Natural is a mix of yin and yang energy with some more yin added to that).

I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to Soft Natural outfits, so feel free to check it out if you're interested!

7 Easy Ways to Look More Feminine

Caitlin from Mrs. Midwest shares a few more general ways on how to look more feminine. I love her emphasis on how confidence naturally increases your inherent "femininity" and "masculinity" respectively. She also encourages to embrace and celebrate your body by accentuating it with cosmetics, clothes, accessories and body posture.

[EDIT February 2022: Unfortunately, I have just found out through multiple videos such as this one that Mrs. Midwest – who I used to love watching and look to as inspiration, until now – is apparently not as "accepting" and "welcoming" as she pretends, but follows and even promotes known advocators of white supremacy, misogyny, racism, and sexism.
Honestly, I am shocked, disturbed and disappointed.
I still value certain aspects of her online message in her videos such as including BIPoC women when talking about feminine beauty, or cultivating more "feminine" qualities such as compassion and sensuality in a society that still classifies things like being assertive, independent and highly driven as "masculine" characteristics, while still honouring our inherent masculine qualities too
(my words, not hers)! I am also supportive of all women who want to take a more traditional housewife role, in fact, I myself enjoy the responsibility of homemaking as well as simple living, and I do not think that you need to pursue a professional career in order to be successful and worthy. So I do not have a problem with her lifestyle choices at all.
However, it seems that Mrs. Midwest has hidden her internalized racist ideologies in a very deceivingly sweet way
inbetween skin care and homemaking. She has shared extremely problematic views such as cleaning being an "inherited genetic trait", or the way that she equates "speaking in a feminine way" with being totally submissive and non-confrontational.
It makes me very sad to realize this, because until recently I had considered her to be a great feminine role model. But she's not. She's actually the opposite.
If you watch and like Mrs. Midwest – just like I did in the past! – please do your research, and perhaps share this information with others.
And to Mrs. Midwest, Caitlin, herself: Please, also watch these videos, read this article, face the truth, and please stop sharing toxic ideologies with young vulnerable women!

In another video she also mentions the relevance of getting to know your own body – by way of finding out your body type or your seasonal color etc. –, and I've found it so helpful to figure out that I'm a Soft Natural and also have a warm hair and skin tone (either light spring or soft autumn, according to several tests – but I feel like I could also be a soft summer, haha!). 

It bugs me that I still couldn't pinpoint which of both is me, so if you have any idea, please let me know!! :)

4. Animals
An Animal Farm in Devon

Emma Massingale is a professional horse trainer who has a massive property in Devon with 30 animals under her care!!

As mentioned above, I'm currently looking for my dream house, and while I'm not ready yet to leave behind friends and family to move to the country it's definitely a dream of mine to live on a huge farm with a bunch of animals – dogs, guinea pigs, pigs, horses, chicken, sheep, rabbits, goats, hedgehogs, and what not! It would be sort of an animal sanctuary for old/homeless/abused pets.

A Horse Whisperer that trains "problem horses"

Mia Lykke Nielsen from When Horses Choose is a skilled horse trainer that is able to regain the trust of traumatized horses and thereby making them rideable again (or for the first time ever). I love the way she treats the horses with respect, loving care and also gentle assertiveness which helps the animals to find their place in the hierarchy and feel secure around their leader/owner. 

Unfortunately there aren't that many clips of her working with horses (in English language), but I could watch her for hours. She works with the horse's natural behaviour and communication, and explains how horses "tick".

An Animal Communicator

This impressive and touching documentary is about Anna Breytenbach, a South African woman who is able to communicate with animals in a very special way. This isn't so much about "taming" difficult animals, but rather about getting in touch with those related creatures and nature around us (it's called interspecies communication) which we have lost our natural connection with. I would love to learn animal communication from her!!

5. Spiritual Growth
Lastly, I've been spending a lot of my time on my personal and spiritual growth. I used to hate – truly despise – meditating, but once that my fiancée started to meditate daily and I did it with him a few times, it has now become an integral part of my morning routine that I don't want to go without again! Yes, meditation – as well as body movement and healthy eating – is preached everywhere, but that is because it is so TRUE! My fiancée and I have been using the app Headspace for a year, and since the beginning of 2020 we've been using Calm, which I can highly recommend.

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Apart from meditating, I've been thoroughly enjoying reading spiritual books, such as A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life's Purpose written by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. It's not an easy read for anyone who is used to only read fiction, but Tolle does a great job at introducing his concepts. He writes about the Ego, and how it manifests in our life, about our belief systems, and how we can move past it. I was especially impacted by his chapters on what he calls the "pain body". I treasure the deep truth of this book very much and look forward to reading the author's most famous book, The Power of Now. Let me know if you have read any of them!

Opening the Door of Your Heart by Ajahn Brahm

Opening the Door of Your Heart by the monk Ajahn Brahm is a collection of Buddhist tales. It is a lighter read than Tolle's New Earth, but equally valuable and thought-provoking. My Mom read this to me when I was younger, still a young teenager, and now my fiancée reads a story or two to me as a grounding bedtime story. It's wonderful wisdom that comes in easy to digest bites. Ideal for anyone who's starting out on their spiritual journey!

Ooph, now that's it for this first half of 2020, a very special year filled with realignment, growth and (self) discoveries. What has this year brought you so far?